Thursday, June 17, 2010

Today's horror feature: Children of the Red Stick

Where I come from, old times there are not forgotten.

But at least -- once in a blue moon -- official Baton Rouge can be persuaded to look away, look away, look away from backwardness.

That's something, I guess.

Of course, after reading
the following story in this morning's Advocate, I'm thinking that the city's white-flighty northern suburbs might benefit from the resumption of Radical Reconstruction after a 130-odd year hiatus.

whether we could get BP to pay for it?
The Metro Council voted Wednesday to rezone a 52-acre site near Zachary so a residential program for troubled youths can be operated on the site.

The 8-3 vote to rezone the property for Heritage Ranch Christian Children’s Home on Tucker Road came over the objections of Councilman Trae Welch, who represents the area, and dozens of residents who packed the council’s chambers.

They complained the site isn’t suitable and said they fear for their safety because the operators have no experience running a residential program of this type.


While the project has support from influential business and community leaders in Baton Rouge, it drew intense opposition from people who live in the area.

“I’ve never received so many e-mails and calls about a zoning case,” councilwoman Alison Cascio said. “I’ve never seen anything like this. It’s been incredible.”

The vote to rezone the property from rural to Planned Unit Development followed nearly three hours of impassioned debate.
YES, all this over plans to build a facility to help troubled, underprivileged kids. And not even the worst of the troubled, underprivileged kids.

Two things you have to realize about my hometown. One, the real problem here is that most of these "underserved" kids are likely to be black, and be from Baton Rouge, and the main selling point for the suburbs in question is they are neither.

Second, the folks up there really, really hate Baton Rouge. It's psychotic, actually -- depending on the "big city" for jobs and services at the same time you want nothing more than to escape it, then fiscally starve it to death.

Central and Zachary are where bond issues that benefit Baton Rouge go to die.

And during Wednesday's council session, you have to wonder whether the only folks holding down the fort in Central and Zachary were Mrs. Ashley Wilkes and Mrs. Frank Kennedy, waiting and knitting with Doc Meade's wife while reading aloud from
David Copperfield.

YOU SEE, everybody else went off to a "political meeting."
Opponents, including Bill Waters, who lives across the street from the project, were disappointed.

“We were out lobbied by the big money and the power brokers of Baton Rouge,” Waters said.

Welch had urged the council to reject the rezoning request, noting that everyone in the neighboring area was opposed to it.

He said 350 residents signed a petition opposing the rezoning.

Several opponents noted that the supporters speaking in favor of the rezoning don’t live in the area.

“Every single person lives in Baton Rouge,” Jennifer Patterson said of the supporters. “Not one lives in my community.”

They also talked about the impact young people with behavioral issues could have on the schools, and noted that similar programs operate on much larger sites in more-remote areas.

“We know what their vision is and what they hope Heritage Ranch will be,” Waters said, “but they simply do not have the expertise to do what they say they want to do.”
THIS WAS persuasive for Big Sam, played Wednesday by Ulysses "Bones" Addison, who voted against the facility. Despite the likelihood that some of the kids helped by the facility would come from his impoverished council district.

Of course, Big Sam never asked where opponents thought kids with behavioral problems are now, if not in public schools. Or asked whether some of the public-school kids with behavioral problems just might be their own.

Furthermore, the granddaddy of all "similar programs" isn't in a "
more-remote" area at all -- it's an adjacent suburb of Omaha. Maybe you've heard of it; it's called Boys Town.

Capt. Rhett Butler could not be reached for comment.

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